Google Places is a product from Google that gives businesses a free online listing to claim and optimise. These local listings include the name, address, phone number and website of the business, along with other relevant information that people browsing the web may find useful. It’s possible to upload multiple photos, videos and also run special offers. Considering the power of Google and the fact that 97% of consumers search for local businesses online, claiming your Google Places page is probably one of the single most important things you can do to boost your business locally.
So what Google Places help resources are available for you when you decide to claim and manage your own listing? Here are three that we would highly recommend:
1. Google Places Quality Guidelines
Before even getting started with Google Places and claiming your listing you should have a good read of the quality guidelines. These guidelines set out the basic rules and offer some help in understanding Google Places. They let you know if your business is eligible for a listing, along with some basic instructions on what type of information is allowed and what is not. Getting to know these guidelines well is vitally important because if you fall foul of them then you’re likely to get hit with a penalty and that could mean you’re listing disappears for a while. For most businesses that can end up being a painful and costly experience.
2. Google Places Help Forum
The place to go to for help with all your Google Places questions and issues. It’s actually called the “Google and Your Business” forum now, but it’s still a great place to go and join in discussions about Google Places and find answers to any questions you may have. There are two main discussion categories based around general advice and technical issues. The forum is monitored by a Community Manager, who does a great job of keeping the lines of communication with the Big G going. There is also a good group of knowledgeable contributors to the forum who can offer advice and solutions to any Google Places problems you may be experiencing.
3. Google Places Category Tool
Choosing the right business categories for your Google Places listing is one of the most important things to get right. Mike Blumenthal has a great blog on understanding Google Places and local search, and he’s done a lot of work around business categories. His Google Places Category Tool is a great spot to start and allows you to search for all the official categories in a number of different countries. Find one or two official categories that fit for your business and then you can use the remaining three spots to customise your own categories, making sure, of course, that you stick to the quality guidelines.
Now you’re ready to get started and navigate your way through the Google Places verification process. Keep the 3 resources above bookmarked in your browser and you should be fine. If you do run into any major issues and need some help with your Google Places listing then by all means get in touch with us here.
Written by Nick Rink